I save money without even trying.

November 1, 2011 · 47 comments

Girl Ninja and I have made multiple intentional decisions on how we can best reign in spending and control our costs. We don’t have cable, we rent a one bedroom apartment, and we try to buy as much stuff as we can on sale. We intentionally cut costs to save money.

Last night, however, I started thinking about all the ways I unintentionally save money. Turns out, I’m even more thrifty than I realized. Here are some ways I’ve unknowingly been saving some serious coin…

Alcohol:

I only know a handful of people like myself. People that hate alcohol. This is not a religious thing, but more a I-hate-the-way-it-tastes kind of thing. It amazes me how much some people wish I drank. I swear every time I go out someone is begging me to try their glass of wine, their beer, or their rum and coke, as though, my taste buds will suddenly do a 180 and be in alcohol heaven. I’ve done a lot of taste tasting over the years and the scale in which I use to describe alcoholic beverages ranges from “extremely disgusting to moderately disgusting”. I’m yet to find a drink I legitimately enjoy. Since I’ve never bought alcohol before, I don’t really know how much I’m saving. I’ll make a completely uneducated guess and assume most other 20-somethings probably drop between $30 and $200 a month on alcohol. Is that a good guess? How much do you spend?

Haircuts:

If you haven’t noticed in the various pictures I’ve posted over the years, my head is shaved. After my freshmen year of college I decided it was time to say goodbye to my long flowing locks and get the clippers out. That was seven years ago. I haven’t paid for a single haircut since. Prior to buzzing it all off, I was probably getting my hair cut once every two months. At $20/cut that works out to a total savings of $840 over the years. The only thing I miss about going to get my hair did, was the way the stylist would massage my scalp under hot water. Can I get an amen?!

Coffee:

I must have some extremely jacked up taste buds, cause not only do I hate the taste of alcohol, but the taste of coffee (or anything with coffee in it) makes me want to projectile vomit all over a white cat (I hate cats). Girl Ninja loves her some Starbucks. It’s a good thing I don’t, otherwise we’d probably be there every day. She does her best to minimize her “Tall non-fat vanilla latte” purchases, but probably averages two a week. If I was joining her each trip that would be an additional $7/week out of our pockets, or $364 over the course of a year. Extrapolate that over the last 10 years and we are talking THOUSANDS of dollars saved by not liking the flavor of coffee. Booya for sensitive taste buds. 

Video Games:

I may have to give up my man card for mentioning this one, but I don’t really get the point of video games. I played them in elementary and middle school, but by the time I got to high school I cared more about my outfit, girls, and sports then I did about what type of gun Lara Croft used. While video game consoles are reasonably priced (most around $200), the video games are a budget killer. At $40 to $80 a pop, I don’t know how gamers sustain themselves. Oh that’s right, they never go outside and they all live in their mother’s basements. Kidding….kind of. Thank goodness World Of Warcraft and NCAA Football ain’t my thing.

Okay now that I’ve pissed a bunch of video-gamers off, it’s time I step down and give you an opportunity to share some ways you’ve unintentionally saved some scrilla (that means money for the less cultured). Do you hate sweets? Never shave your armpits? Or do use public transportation? It might take a minute to think something up, but when you do drop a comment below.

1 Kristin

Alcohol – spent $40 last month. Though, a good amount of this was for “hostess gifts” – I went to a party and brought a six-pack to share, but I didn’t drink it all myself. But then again, other people will spot me a beer, too, so it evens out. And I can’t abide by cheap beer – so I’ll get a few bottles of nice stuff.

Haircuts – I skimp, and really let my split ends get too long, but $38 + $5 tip every 4 months or so.

Coffee – I like my coffee like I like my ice cream – with lots of cream and sugar, and drink it maybe once or twice a week when I haven’t slept much and really need a jolt, ~$10/month

Nothing on video games. I’ve been biking or walking to classes and taking the bus (included in student fees) on campus since I moved, so I was able to go for two whole months without filling up my gas tank. I don’t shave my legs in the winter while I can get away with wearing pants for a long time – but that’s more of a convenience than a trying to save money technique. I haven’t had a magazine subscription that I had to pay for in over 6 years – been moving around too much! I haven’t been to the movie theater since July or so.

2 Jessica

Lets see:
Alcohol- No alcohol for myself, my husband sometimes indulges in alcohol but not beer he goes more for the Bailey’s stuff. And I honestly can’t remember the last time he bought it, oh wait yes I do it was a gift from me lol. So I would say $40 a year tops on alcohol.
Haircuts- My husband is in the military, so he has to get a haircut every.single.week, or it is out of regs. So that would add up pretty fast, thankfully I’m pretty good at haircuts and have mastered the ‘high and tight’, so we don’t pay for them! However, we do pay for mine. I get my hair highlighted and cut about every 4 months at about $80 plus $10 tip. However with being in Japan right now, I don’t really trust any of the salons so I probably won’t go again til I get back to the States to visit. Yay for being forced to have my natural hair color!
Coffee- I am a coffee LOVER. However, we live in Japan (military moved us) and the coffee shop on base isn’t that great, so unintentionally I am saving money! Back in the States I would go probably 3 times a week, so we are saving LOTS of money that way!
Cable T.V.- We DON’T have it. In our first apartment we got cable free with our rent (wohoo), but after that when we moved we would have had to pay for it, and honestly it’s not worth it to us.
Magazines- We don’t subscribe to any. If I want to read the gossip magazines I stand in the store and read them, then put them back (haha yes I am one of those people!).

3 Larry

Just to go through the items you mention:

Alcohol – I drink wine regularly but beer little and hard liquor not at all. There are bottles of bourbon and Scotch in my cabinet that are literally 20+ years old, I like a small glass of wine with dinner, but for economy, I usually buy in the $10 range. About $30 a month.

Haircuts – Because I’m balding on top, my barber usually charges me $13 instead of his normal $15. How’s that for genetics?

Coffee – We have a free coffee machine in the office. Otherwise $2 a day at the deli. I tried Starbucks once and thought it was over-sugared crap. Honestly, I couldn’t even get through one $5 cup of it. Sorry, GN.

Video Games – Video what?

I also don’t smoke, and I’m sure that’s a budget buster for many. But I go out to eat maybe twice a week, buy books and DVDs (used through Amazon whenever possible), go to museums and concerts, etc. Point is for me to not worry about all these small things, but to allow myself a per diem amount, which varies by pay period depending on other necessary expenses, and then adhere to it strictly.

4 SWR

A discount because you’re balding- that’s hilarious.

I’m back in school – so we got rid of my car and of our television. Serious money saving!
We do drink alcohol and coffee- but we don’t eat meat or fish on a regular basis (maybe once a month?).

5 MIdnight Snack

- Haircuts –
This is very tough for black men and a huge drain on the pocket book. A Black man will generally get a hair cut once every 1-3 weeks at $8-$15 a visit not including tip! Now, I don’t like to go bald or the buzz; I like a particular hair cut that makes me feel I could run for office: the Taper Fade. I decided it was time to try and do it on my own to save a butt load of ‘skrilla’. I bought the same 2 clippers my old barber uses on amazon (surprisingly cheap) and did some research on how to cut fades from youtube. Buying your own set of clippers is one of the best investment a man can make. Very liberating knowing you can touch up your hair line and give yourself quality cuts any time you want without shelling out any money. My clippers paid for themselves in the first couple months.

-Alcohol –
I’m a “I just don’t like the taste” guy too; Huge proponent for deliciousness. My alcohol drinking friends say the delicious fruity drinks that women drink through straws and Zima are off the table so I guess it’s just ginger ale…AND SAVINGS!

– Coffee –
Don’t drink it…SAVINGS!

– Video Games/Electronics –
Video Games and Electronics are fun but I’ve never been a guy who had to be the first to get something; I can wait. Except for a couple shooters and Sports games that I need on release day to play with the guys, I wait for video games to hit the bargain bin and Ebay before I buy; Portal 2 should be in my price range soon. Also, when TV/Gadgets are last month’s/year’s hotness that’s when I pounce!

– Exercise/Basketball –
No Gym memberships. body weight exercises and pickup games at the Free outdoor courts in the neighborhood.

– Cable –
Yes I need it! Without out It I can’t watch my sports live. Damn you NBA lockout…

6 Denis

i’m hispanic and usually get a blow out haircut and i bought the high end clippers too but for the life of me i couldn’t get my edges straight they’d always come out crooked! so i do spend $15 every 3 weeks at the barber…adds up!!
ughh im missing the NBA soo much too =/

7 Paige

1. Alcohol. I don’t drink. And my friends are now drinking in bars rather than at home, so I can tell you that they are spending upwards of $100/month.

2. I get my hair cut once every 14 months-ish. I have to deal with a lecture from my hairdresser about how I should be in every 6 weeks, but to me it’s worth it.

3. I don’t drive, so I don’t have a car. Even though I take a pretty pricey combination of trains, buses and subways, I’m still saving thousands and thousands of dollars every year over a car/insurance/repairs/gas.

4. I don’t really pay for any kind of entertainment. I’ve never had cable/netflix. I don’t subscribe to any magazines or buy books. And I’ve never been to a (paid) concert. I’d much rather check out free festivals and outdoor movies in the summer.

8 chicarmoire

I am a gamer. I save money by buying used games or swapping games with friends. The xbox is also my “gym” (I use the Zumba and EA Sports Active games for workouts). I save money in other areas so I can do an activity that I really enjoy. You had a post a while back about what do you spend on that makes you happy; gaming is it for me. Plus that’s how I met my really awesome boyfriend :)

9 CommonCents

I feel like I could be your Female Twin. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t like coffee and I don’t even own a working gaming system.

Alcohol~ Anything that is beer, wine made from grapes and anything with vodka in it, I can’t stand. I’ve tried all kinds and frankly if it falls under one of those items its not for me. I also have an aversion to hangovers and being completely out of control, thus being drunk is not for me!

Coffee~ I just can’t drink the stuff. Actually the smell of roosting coffee beans makes me physically sick. We have 2 Tim’s (coffee shop for the non Canadian’s) in my caff at my work and I love tea. However I never buy it, work provides hot water, sugar and mike in every kitchenette on the floors. I bring my own tea bags and make my own. I figure I save (2$X 5 a week= 10x 52 working weeks=) 520$ a year! Wow I’ve never actually done the math before… that’s a lot to waste on a sometimes good cup of tea!

Gaming~ Waste of time. IMO

10 Heather

If my husband and I didn’t drink, we’d save some serious money. Between meeting friends out at the bar during the week, going out each Sunday for football, and having friends over, we spend $350-500 per month on alcohol.

But no video games or coffee trips for us.

11 Melissa

Alcohol is a pretty big one, for sure! I’m not a huge drinker myself, I’m slightly allergic to most forms of it, so there are only certain things I *can* drink. (It’s not a taste thing. It’s like a, “If I have even one shot of vodka/gin/rye/red wine I’ll throw up an hour later. Scotch and whiskey are mostly the only things totally OK, which I know is weird.) So when I go out, I usually drink water, or maybe order a single scotch and soda. It saves me TONS of money unintentionally, and it’s awesome. I’d say at most, I spend $20 a month on alcohol, though that’s probably a pretty generous guess.

Though in your friends defence, alcohol (of all kinds) is absolutely an acquired taste. You really do have to learn to like it.

A poster above made a great point about not having a car. I’m definitely paying a premium on rent by living in a major city, but I’m also saving hundreds a month by not having a car, because it’s just unnecessary. Not a bad deal.

I do like my coffee though!

12 Mo D.

Alcohol – About a year ago, I’d say about $80-$100 of our monthly food budget went towards alcohol. I can take it or leave it; Hubby did love his beer… he didn’t think twice about going to the LCBO (Liquor Stores in Ontario for you non-Canadians) to buy a couple of tall boys 4 times a week, and the odd bottle of JD… then doc told him how bad his liver was… and at 36, he decided to take action… now he has 2 beers a week when he’s out with his bromance, but drinking at home has completely stopped.

Haircuts – Hubby shaved his head about 7 yrs ago… saves about $15 every 3 weeks now that he shaves it himself. I pay $22 + $5 tip every 7 weeks… and I pay for it out of my allowance. I learned long ago fighting against the natural wave I have in my hair was a time and money waster… now I spend about 10 min. total per day on it, and I’d say it looks better now than when I was spending oodles of extra cash on it.

Coffee – We loooove coffee!! If you and GN ever come to the Toronto area, I’m taking her to Starbucks… MY TREAT! We brew our own every morning and buy Starbucks’ regular coffees (Tall Mild for me, Venti Bold for the Hubby) on the weekends when we’re out running errands… we used to go to Starbucks almost every day… we figure we’re saving about $120/month by brewing most of our caffeine love at home.

Video Games – The Sony II Playstation I bought Hubby a number of years ago hasn’t seen the light of day in about 2 years… tells you how much we play video games.

Cable – Included in our condo fees, but we upgraded to HD TV a few years ago, so we now have to pay. Novelty’s worn off with cable… when we move next year, we’re going to look at other options… Hubby can only stand to watch an hour of TV a night… tops!

13 Den

Having a broken drivers side window on my car has saved me some major money lately! I can’t go thru a drive thru and I can’t go to the drive up ATM (yes, I know that sounds lazy)…..and that hurts when you are a diet coke-a-holic and Mickey D’s has their $1 pop special.

So hubby is going to buy a part to fix the window, but he’s a bit of a procrastinator, so the longer he puts it off, the longer I save some moola:)

14 Melissa

I really like beer, as does my boyfriend. Same goes for coffee. Though we enjoy both, we make coffee at home and only purchase a few beers out per week. The majority of our beer budget ($80-100/mo) is buying 6 packs and half cases of craft beer from a local shop. At some point we may just brew our own to save and create crazy beer varieties.

Stuff I save on without thinking:
1. Gym membership – complimentary thru my employer.
2. Cable! Ditched it 2 months ago and opted for internet only. Saves about $90/month. We use hulu, Netflix, and network websites for tv.
3. Beauty stuff – I’ve found the LESS “stuff” and “products” I have I’m happier and my skin/hair looks more healthy.
4. Travel – I accrue reward points like it’s going out of style through my work. Translates to a nice (cheap) getaway in the future.

15 Happy Homeowner

Alcohol–I lived very socially for quite some time, but I’ve cut way back on consumption and nights out. I’d say about $25-30 goes to various alcohol-related purchases each month–most are for host/hostess gifts though.

Haircuts–I get 3/year at a low-cost hairdresser that I love. ($35 haircut in Boston, what?!). I always tip her $12 and the shampoo person $3, so I spend $150/year.

Coffee–I’ve never had it and I have zero desire to ever even taste it!

Gaming–I have a Wii that was given to me as a bday present years ago. I’ve played it once..haha!

I save by biking to work each day (22 miles round-trip), don’t have cable, recently cancelled my gym membership, and take public transportation as much as possible if it’s too gnarly out to bike somewhere. I also use coupons (moderately), scour TravelZoo for insane vacation deals, and use Groupon, Living Social, etc. to look for fun date night ideas, etc. I’m also in Larry’s camp as I have a miscellaneous spending amount each month to spend as I see fit (dinner out, etc.). Once it’s gone, it’s gone until the new month rolls around.

16 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

I don’t enjoy alcohol either, and I think it’s at least $40 a month. In college (when me and all my friend were really broke) it was probably well over $100 a month. I have some friends who spend well over $200 a month because they go out multiple times each week, drink a lot, and tip a lot.

17 Allison

I also don’t go in for booze, coffee, or gaming. Alas, whatever I save is surely poured into Apple gadgets and cameras.

I hate the taste of alcohol, but not as much as I hate how weirded out people get when I don’t drink. Why is that? It’s like it makes people nervous or something. As for coffee, if only it tasted the way it smelled! The aroma is heavenly (I would bury my nose in a bag of beans) but the taste? That lovely smell is nothing but false advertising.

18 Daisy

I don’t drink very often at all, but one of my biggest money savers by default is that I’m not a drinker of beverages in general (I sound crazy). I’ve never liked soda, juice, energy drinks, or anything. When I go for food, I never get a drink, and at the grocery store I’m just not into it. I drink water when I’m thirsty, that’s it. Some people spend so much money on things like that!

19 Ella

I am not a big alcohol person too, but I do love me some wine. I guess, we spend about $40 every month for booze on an average. I am not a wino and I love Trader Joe’s wines.

The way I save money is I am not crazy about designer clothing or handbags like most other women I know. Also I hate shopping and I am sure I save more money than people for whom shopping is a hobby!

20 Larry

When I was a kid, I would drink Pepsi (a much superior beverage to Coke, in my opinion) with most meals; then somehow my taste buds grew up and I found myself wanting to drink only wine with “European” foods (Italian, Spanish, French). The food simply tastes better with wine, IMO, and if I’m having even something simple like spaghetti and meatballs I find it tastes flat without my glass of vino rosso.

I only drink moderate amounts, a small glass (maybe 3 ounces), and I won’t drive for a couple of hours after a meal I’ve had with wine. Besides, moderate consumption of red wine in particular has been shown to be healthy for the heart. The French, who drink far more wine than we Americans, have far less heart disease.

I don’t find wine goes as well with spicy Asian foods like Thai, Mexican, Indian, or Chinese; here beer is probably a better choice, but I also like a Perrier with lemon. But most American beer tastes like piss. One of my favorite memories is a late-evening dinner at an outdoors canal-side bar in Ghent, Belgium, where I had the waterzooi (a chicken stew) accompanied by an artisanal Belgian beer. Heaven.

As for expense, you can get perfectly good bottles for around $10 a pop (excuse the pun) – Yellowtail, Cupcake, and many of the Australian or Chilean wines. People are often scared away from wine because they think it has to be expensive to be good. But the founder of Gallo Wines did an experiment where he gave his guinea pigs two glasses, one that cost 5 cents and the other 10. What he didn’t tell them was that both wines were the same.

21 StackingCash

It’s fascinating so many people do not like alcohol. I’ve always felt like a freak for not liking it. You did leave out the biggest money saver, smoking. Living in Sin City aka Las Vegas, I don’t drink, smoke, or gamble. Well, until just recently, I’ve been playing our local version of the lottery, Megabucks Slots, I put in about $21 a month as my speculative investment, same as gambling I guess :) I like to think that I have a .0000000001% chance of winning instead of a 0% chance :P

22 Midwest

Perform my own haircuts, don’t smoke, no cable or paid video services, no video games, coffee at work, good mpg commuter car, perform own car maintenance, keep ac and heat high/low, corporate cell, no home phone, drink budget wine, stick to coupons and bulk meals, bring lunch to work, buy clothes at goodwill sometimes, refi mortgage to lower rate, and shower with cold water.

kidding on the last one. ; )

23 Laura

My husband also does the shaved head thing… well, I shave it for him but that saves us money. We both hate coffee, so that saves us. We both love salad and therefore bring them for lunch ~4 days a week, which saves us money while being REALLY tasty. We do however drink (well normally I do, but I’m pregnant so not now….) so we spend money there.

We are also environmentally concerned and end up saving ourselves money with that. For example, we try to get used items whenever we can, drive a used car, etc. Almost everything baby related we are getting are hand-me downs (even having an eco baby shower!). We can absolutely afford “nice, new things” and we often get that critisim from people that can’t understand why we are the way we are. It isn’t like we look like ragamuffins, we still make sure things are nice but I see no reason to buy 100 onsies for a baby when a friend had a baby that wore them for 2 weeks. We are also going to cloth diaper (saves a ton of money) but we are doing it to save waste. There are many more examples along this line but you get the point. :)

24 Paul Williams

Add me to the list of people you (sort of) know who just don’t like the taste of alcohol. I’ve tasted different kinds and have the same scale as you. And it’s not a religious thing for me either – I’m perfectly fine with the moderate consumption of alcohol. I just don’t want to consume any myself.

Definitely saved me a good bit of money in college based on what I saw others doing! :)

25 Lizilla

Food – We rarely (like once a month) go out to eat. I make all of our meals from scratch for about $60-$100 per week. When we used to go out to dinner we would spend $60/night!

Alcohol – We buy hard liquor when we are visiting my sister in New Hampshire which is about half the cost of liquor in New York. We aren’t big drinkers but sometimes its nice to have a cocktail at the end of the week.

Gas – I stopped going home for lunch and have cut my gas expenses in half.

Cable – We have an apple tv (which initally cost $99) and a monthly subscription to Netflix ($8). There are so many things to watch instantly on netflix and a bonus is no commercials!

26 D

Alcohol – I prefer wine on a sporadic (one to two times a year) basis and only stock up on the good stuff when there is a special at Total Wine and More. Beer is only when at gatherings with friends and at others’ expense. :)

Haircuts – I’m lazy at keeping up with my hair cuts since it’s stick straight and grows so fast. So, I only go about once a year and spend about $45 + tip . We’ve recently bought a hair cutting kit for my boyfriend so that cuts out about $20/every 5 months for him.

Coffee – (Begin shameless Starbucks advertising) Since Girl Ninja is a Starbucks lover, you should look into loading money onto a Starbucks card for their rewards program. 30 stars (trips or purchases) automatically upgrades you to Gold Status which gives you a free drink every 15 stars and a free drink on your birthday, free coffee refills. I have one and it comes in quite handy. I just have to remember to make sure I get my 30 stars in for the year to keep the gold status since I’ve cut back drastically after investing in a one-cup coffee brewer (LOVE!).

The card is free (except you have to load your hard earned money on it). They also send you a shiny gold Starbucks card with your name on it once you hit Gold Status. I also transfer any funds from other starbucks cards to one card when I receive them as gifts to cut back on the number of cards to carry around, as well as trying to remember the remaining balance on them.

Video Games – I have an ipod touch 4g. If those games count, then I don’t spend any money on them. I’ve got an app that shows the free apps for the day and download them. :)

Exercise – What’s that? J/K. I used to have a gym membership that was only used for the first 2 months at $55/mo. But since moving, the community we’re in has a SMALL 24 hour gym at our clubhouse that’s included with our monthly HOA fees. My boyfriend also has a rowing machine in one of our upstairs bedroom that’s I’ve just started to use.

27 Mo D.

D, I do the EXACT same thing with my Starbucks cards; anytime I’m given a gift cert., I transfer it to my main card. Now that the rewards program’s available in Canada, guess what website I’m logging onto if a couple of minutes LOL!

28 Lizzie

I shudder to think of the amount of money I used to spend on alcohol each month. In my early and mid 20s, I’m sure I spent $200-300 per month, easily. I don’t drink much at all anymore (because it’s really hard to wake up at 5 am on a Saturday and run 10 miles with a hangover,) but every now and again I enjoy a really good wine or craft beer. I currently have a stockpile of wine from my boozetastic days, so I doubt I’ll buy any again for years. I also only go to bars/happy hour a few times per year and stop at 1 now if I even have anything at all (I don’t drink and drive, period. So, if I know I have to get behind the wheel, it’s club soda for me and that’s usually free!)

I also used to spend $75 a month at Starbucks because the coffee I made at home tasted like swamp-water. I finally broke down and bough a Keurig with a reusable filter so I could use my own coffee and I now have my coffee spending down to about $10 per month (that baby paid for itself in just a few months!)

The biggest way I save money is on transportation costs. I live across the street from my job (it’s .34 miles from my front door to my desk) so I rarely drive anywhere during the week. I fill up my tank maybe once per month and that’s usually only when I visit family and friends who live about 150 miles away. Living so close to my job also allows me to go home for lunch and breaks to fill my water bottle and grab a bite to eat. Additionally, employees are charged $40 per month to park on campus (I work at a university) so that’s an extra bonus right there!

I check out books from the public library rather than purchase them. Many public libraries often have an excellent selection of DVDs (including current popular television shows) and e-books, so unless there’s a book or movie that I cannot live without, I utilize the library. Sometimes I have to wait a few weeks for the more popular materials, but it’s still worth it to me.

29 iwantmyhdbflat

I prepare my own meals because I’m paranoid that chefs in Hong Kong would spit into my food, so that saves me a lot of money plus it’s healthy.
I subscribe to fitness websites and do their FREE workouts in the parks religiously – hate breathing in dirty recycled air from indoor gyms.
I never turn on the air-conditioning because it’s bad for my skin.
I HATE SHOPPING because the fibres from new clothes irritate my nose but I need to look smashing for my job so I limit my shopping to 4 times a year (once per season).

30 Rachael

Alcohol: apparently I am one of the few on here who drinks on a semi regular basis. I would still say at the most I spend is about 50 dollars a month. It must be my WI upbringing but I legitimately enjoy the tast of a good craft beer.

Coffee: Apparently, I just like beverages that you need to work to like because I also like coffee. Mostly, I just drink whatever I make at home or coffee at work which is free so my purchase of coffee grounds falls into my normal grocery expenses.

Haircuts: In the last couple of years I had long hair and I had it cut about 3 times a year. I would sometimes trim a little myself inbetween if I thought I needed it. I recently had my hair cut quite short so now in order to maintain it I will probably have to get it cut more frequently.

Gym membership: I do have one of those but by participating in the wellness plan at work I get gift certificates that pay for the majority of a membership.

31 Matt

Alcohol: $20-$40 a month

Coffee: $20 a month

Haircut: $50 every month and a half

Gym Membership: $45 a month

Video Games: Ninja you did pay $10 for unlimited access to Trains USA

Looks like I am sucking at the things you’re saving at.

Total cost: $155

That is a lot of money I could be saving.

32 Judi

Food ~ we rarely go out to eat. I am a pretty decent cook and I can whip up most anything. We also rarely eat out because taking 9 people out for dinner (taking advantage of kids eat free specials) will drain about 40% of our weekly grocery budget ($260).

Haircuts ~ 5 boys in the household and we use clippers…$20 a haircut every 6 weeks months…saves us around $800 a year.

Coffee ~ I do like my coffee, but I can’t stand the high priced places like Starbucks (their coffee tastes burnt to me) so if I buy a coffee, I will buy it from Tim Horton’s (about $1.60 for a large double-double). Lately I haven’t been buying it often, possibly once a week.

33 Rachel

My husband and I commute to work together most days of the week (saves gas, the environment, and my sanity in bumper-to-bumper traffic)

We don’t have cable nor internet at home. We rely solely on rabbit ear antennas and mail-order Netflix.

I’ve never bought or used a smart phone. Ever. So, my cell phone bill every month is cheap.

I also don’t drink (can’t get passed the disgusting taste either), but since you asked, my husband is a heavy drinker and spends ~$300 a month on alcohol, just by himself.

I’m a coffee drinker, but limit myself to the free in-office coffee that is free during the week, and I make my own at home on the weekends a lot of the time. I go to Starbucks maybe 1-2x a month.

34 Matt

I don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or drink coffee. Also, the only “video game” I play is MS Excel. I am such a nerd!

35 krantcents

I don’t drink because I do not like how it makes me feel, I don’t drink coffee because I do not like the taste of it either. I do like a blended mocha though, but I limit it to once a week. I do not play video games because i do not care for them. I do indulge in expensive haircuts because I like to present a nice image. The bbottom line is I am frugal or value conscious, but not extreme.

36 Parker

1. Alcohol. Probably about 750-1000 a on bars/booze/and restaurants with booze.

2. I get a haircut every 17 days that costs 22 bucks and I rotate tips between 5-6 bucks every other trip.

3. Coffee is free at work. Sometimes I grab one at Wawa or Dunkin Donuts, but its pretty rare.

4. My gym fee is 19 a month, but I do workout a lot at home or outside. The memebership comes in handy during the Northeast winters and rainy weather. I did buy a PS3 last year, but only play a couple games which run between 20-50 per game, but only have 4 games and it doubles as a DVD/Blue ray player.

37 Amanda

I save money by staying out of bookstores. I love to read, I would give up alcohol, haircuts, AND shaving under my arms before I would stop reading. I used to drop in the bookstores and leave with a book or two almost every week.

Now I get 90% of my reading material from the library. The other 10% comes from used book stores, the Baltimore Book Thing (where the books are free) and flea markets. I’m saving a bundle and still get to feed my habit. I only buy books by a couple of my favorite writers who I know I will always want to own.

38 Sofia

A great post.
1. Alcohol. I don’t drink, so this doesn’t apply- I also don’t enjoy the taste and don’t really get the hype. Oh well, it’s just not for me.

2. I get a haircut every 8 weeks, and go to the Aveda Institute and get it cut by a student. It usually cost me around $25 plus a $6 tip.

3. Coffee. Again, I do not like the taste of coffee. Wish I did, since people are constantly asking me, want to get a cup of coffee? However, there is a free coffee machine in my building which makes hot cocoa as well.

4. My gym fee is included with my rent, which is AWESOME. I do take advantage of this perk.

5. Cable. Basic cable & internet is also included in the rent, which is great. I did upgrade to a faster internet connection, since the entire building is sharing the same connection. Now I can stream videos and read all the blogs I want :)

A place I could cut back on is my ‘smart phone’. It’s around a $70 bill and was worth it when my internet through my phone than the wireless I was getting in my apartment. I may need to rethink that now that I have a faster connection.

39 Donna Freedman

A big ol’ amen from your new neighbor: I don’t drink, don’t smoke, actively dislike coffee, don’t own a car, hire the most basic possible phone and Internet services (separately — it’s cheaper than a bundle), rarely buy new clothes (hint: I work at home), don’t have a TV or a video games system, and am not a foodie.
So when people wonder why I can afford to travel so much and get massages on a somewhat regular basis, well, that’s why. The money I don’t spend on those things gets spent on what makes me happy. And yep, I still have an EF and save for retirement.
Once more I’ll trot out my mantra: I save where I can so I can spend where I want. I suggest that others do the same. Send the dollars where YOU want them to go, not where some housewares or fast-food commercial suggests.

40 Neo

I definitely don’t pay for haircuts, shave my head and don’t pay for NYC-priced haircuts.

However, I spend a ton on “dinner and drinks”, its my weakness! But the whole point of living in NYC is to take advantage of the great restaurants, so I am not giving that up. My offset to my eating-out addiction is under-market rent in the West Village. We got lucky and that saves tons of money.

The other thing is that I am more of an experience-guy than material-possessions-guy. I don’t like stuff. I like going places and doing things. Travel can be a lot cheaper than collecting designer suits or expensive watches…

41 Drew @EpicFinances.com

Being a Federal Worker as well – I use the TSP service for free vouchers for the bus.

Driving to work = $7 of gas + $6 – 8 parking + $5 of wear on car = talking about $20 round trip. or approximately $5000 a year.

The bus is fantastic, although I work at home a lot. I also get paid more to work at home for tax purposes.

42 Miss JJ

I hear you on the alcohol. I hate it too, and don’t metabolise it too well either. It is not so bad back home, but the pressure to drink on business trips with North Americans and Europeans are immense. I work in a male dominated industry and unfortunately, deals still get made in the bar. Even my bosses have subtly indicated that not drinking is having some effect on my performance. Financially at least, work pays for drinks, so I still come out ahead in that respect.

I don’t drink coffee either, so that’s some savings there. I do the rest, like eating at home, taking public transport, growing my hair long to minimise hair cuts, not going to the gym for my workouts etc etc, but these are conscious decisions that take effort to achieve, so I wouldn’t exactly say I do it without trying.

43 Red

HA! I don’t ever believe people when they say they “like” the taste of alcohol or coffee. There are some mixed drinks that mask the alcohol taste well enough for me, but like you, I never buy it. Still, on the alcohol front at least, I imagine that the side effects are worth the bad taste. Also, the more you drink, the less disgusting it tastes. And jello shots! Jello shots are so yummy! Gawd, I think it’s been almost two years since I drank last. I do imagine living it up the night I become debt free.

Coffee is seriously disgusting though. Ugh, I cannot say that enough. I even tried one of the chocolate-y, supposedly non-coffee-tasting drinks from Starbucks. I still found that underlying coffee flavor and couldn’t drink it. That was only the second time I’ve ever tried coffee, and I don’t look to do it again.

I save money by not buying shaving cream. I just use my body wash. I also don’t use conditioner. And, pretty odd for a woman, I don’t own purses or want to own them, so I don’t have that expense. I use Netflix instead of buying DVDs, which has saved untold amounts of money since I would seriously go to Blockbuster and buy armloads of DVDs all at once every single month. I use the library instead of buying books. And if I just need something for a special occasion, I try to borrow instead of buy. That’s all I can think of right now!

44 Nick

My wife and I spend about $10/mo on alcohol. Usually we get a 24 pack of beer once every 2-3 months. That’s about it. Neither of us drinks coffee, so we don’t have that problem.

Dropped an unused gym membership in August, cancelled Netflix in September. We did pay $1.25/week to subscribe to the local Sunday newspaper. We got a 26 week subscription, and we’ve saved probably 50-60% of the cost already from coupons in the first two weeks.

I used to go once / month to get my hair cut ($10 + 2 tip), but one time they messed it up so bad that I really had no choice but to shave it. I now just use my cheapo clippers once every 3-4 weeks. They’ve already paid for themselves five times over.

We do have cable TV, but we only pay $7/mo for the HD upgrade. The package is included in the association fees paid by our landlords. When we buy a house next spring, we will likely not be getting cable.

Now for the video games…I have owned all three current-gen consoles. Last fall we got rid of the Wii. This spring we sold the XB360, and sold the PS3 over the summer. However, at E3, a couple months after I sold the 360, a remake of the original Halo was announced, and I’ve been on the lookout for a decent sale on a 360 bundle ever since. I just bought the 2011 holiday bundle from Amazon yesterday.

In the last 6 years, I’ve also had four mid-high end gaming PC’s, as PC is my preferred platform. World of Warcraft has the lowest cost per hour of any hobby I’ve ever had. $15/mo, and I didn’t have time to play anything else, so I didn’t buy anything. I tried quitting a couple times in college and spent $250+ in less than a month on new games that I lost interest in almost immediately. Now that I’ve quit, and because I spent roughly 5 years playing WoW, there’s now a TON of good, high profile games from a few years ago that can be had for $5 or less on Steam sales. Not counting the Xbox 360 purchase yesterday, I’ve spent $60 for 12ish games in the last 4-5 months. I’ll take that for a relatively time-consuming hobby…

45 kim

Haircuts – I’m black with naturally curly hair (i.e. not straightened) which most stylists can’t handle. So I get my hair cut about once per year when it needs it. Not because of money, just because I can’t stand someone looking at my head blankly, and then asking why don’t I straighten my hair. As if I’m going to go through all that damaging process just to make their once-a-year cut of my head easier!!!

Gym dues – I hate treadmills. I hate exercising inside. I need scenery change, so I run outside.

46 Ryan

Alcohol:

In the US: Around $50 per month? Usually less, way more in the summer. Hard to spend a lot when other people are doing the purchasing. ;)

In Europe: I do not want to know what I’ve spent the past 2 months. At least $100 per month.

Sidenote on taste: It’s good you don’t like coffee either because I don’t know how someone could enjoy coffee but hate alcohol. With some of the fruity wine cooler type drinks, you can’t even tell there’s any booze. With shots, well, it’s not about the taste. :)

Haven’t bought a videogame in forever, $13 on a haircut every 2 months or so.

47 Anonymous

Alcohol – also a hater

Coffee – also a hater

Haircuts – I get maybe 1-2/year? And wait for coupons. So that costs about £20/yr

Public transportation – yay for living in a huge metropolis with great public transport

Entertainment – I do play video games (currently only WOW so it’s £9/mo), but no cable TV, so my main “frivolous” (if you could call it that) expense is having broadband

Non-smoker

Also determined not to turn the heat on until December – only have to last for 8 more days, though, as then we’ll be away on holiday for 2 weeks. Still, putting on a sweater/wool socks is a lot easier/cheaper than turning the heating on (at the temperatures we’re at now, anyway)

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